Greenfield business leader appointed to GCC Board of Trustees

May 18, 2009

At the May 13 Greenfield Community College Board of Trustees meeting, Board Chair Tim Farrell announced the appointment of GCC alumnus and Greenfield business leader Robbie Cohn to the GCC Board of Trustees. Cohn’s will serve until March 2012.

In making the announcement, President Pura said, “Robbie Cohn is exactly the right person at the right time for GCC. His expertise in business, his understanding of philanthropy and development, and his commitment to this community is just the balance needed. Robbie is not only an alumnus, but many members of the Cohn family have also attended GCC over time. As a student, a parent, a past member of the GCC Foundation Board, and as a leader of this community, Robbie has a demonstrated a passion for GCC that is evidenced by the many, many ways he supports this college. He understands the responsibilities the college has to the community as well as the value GCC brings to the community. We are so pleased Robbie Cohn is willing to serve GCC in this capacity and we look forward to his leadership.”

Cohn has been a leader in area real estate for 36 years and is owner of Cohn and Company. He currently serves on the Board of the Baystate Health Foundation and Greenfield Savings Bank, is an honorary director of the GCC Foundation, and is a former board member of the United Way of Franklin County and Bement School.

Cohn knows first-hand the transformative power of GCC. When he was 21, after working in the food business in Boston, he enrolled at GCC. In courses taught by Wil Roberts, Ken Wilson, Art Hannan, Ed Dolhenty, Danny LaRose, Ellie Goodman and others, Cohn for the first time experienced the joy of studying and learning in an academic environment. After GCC, he attended the University of Denver, graduating in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Returning to Greenfield, Robbie briefly served as an alumni representative to the GCC Board of Trustees. In the early 1980s, Robbie became involved with the GCC Foundation, becoming a member of the GCC Foundation Board in the late 1980s. He was President of the Board when the College purchased the GCC Downtown Center in 1995 and was an active participant in the capital campaign that raised the needed funds to purchase and renovate the former bank building into a vibrant academic and community center. He named the Foundation’s annual fundraising golf tournament – Striving and Driving for GCC Scholars – and developed it into a major annual event that raises $30,000 a year to support GCC scholarships.

Involvement with GCC is a family affair for Cohn’s family. His mother, Arline, has served on the GCC Foundation Board and taken courses at the College, his wife, Mary Cohn, graduated from GCC, his son, Simon, studied at GCC for a semester, and his son, Parker, after his junior year at Northfield Mount Hermon, received an A in a GCC chemistry course.

Along with supporting GCC, Cohn is an active supporter of a number of other Franklin County institutions. He and Mary Cohn served as co-chairs of the Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s Second Century Campaign, helping the hospital raise $6.4 million to improve patient care. Cohn said, “There is nothing more important in our community than our college and our hospital. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to support both.”Cohn served on the board of the Bement School for 12 years, three years as president, and co-chaired a capital campaign for the school. Cohn began his service as a non-profit board member by serving on the United Way of Franklin County board for 17 years, three years as president. He led the United Way fundraising campaign in 1985.

Cohn said, “GCC is a truly great institution, an economic force in our community, one that works for the betterment of all of us. Our community is married to the College. What institution gives as much to our community as GCC? Whether someone is 18 or 67, from whatever background, the College empowers them, give them the opportunity to think clearly and to succeed. I am honored to serve on the College’s Board, to continue to help GCC move forward in accomplishing its mission and goals.

Commenting on Cohn’s appointment, outgoing board chair Pat Crosson said, “Robbie Cohn has long been a huge presence at Greenfield Community College and has been instrumental in making it the great college it is. He will continue to be an asset as a member of the Board of Trustees because of his boundless talent, energy, and enthusiasm and because of his enormous stature in the community.”